Why a flashing light at the top of the mast? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-30-2008 Thread Starter
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Why a flashing light at the top of the mast?

Just installed my Orca LED mast light that has Nav/Anchor/Strobe
Was curious when/if/why you would use the strobe.
The other 2 modes I can figure out

Tom
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Distress or low visibility?

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post #3 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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As I recall, technically there is no time when it is legal for a sailing vessel to use the flashing strobe.

However, some folks like to have the strobe as a signal of last resort -- to make a larger vessel or SAR resources aware of their location when all else fails.


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post #4 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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JRP is correct, there is no legal use for a non-emergency boat to have a strobe. However, they are often used to warn off or signal other boats. The OGM trianchor/strobe is a nice unit. I've had one on my boat for the last two years.

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post #5 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
As I recall, technically there is no time when it is legal for a sailing vessel to use the flashing strobe.

However, some folks like to have the strobe as a signal of last resort -- to make a larger vessel or SAR resources aware of their location when all else fails.
Yeppo.

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post #7 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
Steve,

I'm not an expert on this question, but take a look at Rule 36 and Rule 37. They seem to suggest that exactly the opposite is the case, i.e. the strobe is only permitted as an emergency signal on Inland Waters of the US:

Light Signals - Stobes


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post #8 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
The rule on strobes is different for US vs international waters. I think an strobe is okay for international distress.
The strobe light is under the Inland Rules for distress. There are many devices for distress signaling. They can be use singlely or combined with other distress signals. What ever it takes to get the word out that you are in trouble big time.
You will note that the firefly lights on your life jackets are also strobes, thus this should have indicated what that strobe at the top of the mast is used for. Distress Not Disco dancing
I have noticed that those firefly strobes are easier to see then a steady light from that 1 cell incandenscent life jacket light. Do a couple of MOB drills at night and note the difference. And you will understand why you have that tiny light on your life jacket.

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Last edited by Boasun; 07-30-2008 at 11:31 AM.
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
The strobe light is under the Inland Rules for distress. There are many devices for distress signaling. They can be use singlely or combined with other distress signals. What ever it takes to get the word out that you are in trouble big time.
You will note that the firefly lights on your life jackets are also strobes, thus this should have indicated what that strobe at the top of the mast is used for. Distress Not Disco dancing
I have noticed that those firefly strobes are easier to see then a steady light from that 1 cell incandenscent life jacket light. Do a couple of MOB drills at night and note the difference. And you will understand why you have that tiny light on your life jacket.
Agreed, Boasun. We hook those on to everyone - especially the kids if out at night. Ours are the water activated. I consider them invalueable. If purchase a masthead light, I too would certainly buy the strobe. Whatever it takes.

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post #10 of 14 Old 07-30-2008
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Just to add to the confusion some kayak fisherman in our area have taken to displaying red or green flashing strobes at night. First time I saw one outside the harbor I thought it prudent to hail him & make sure it WASN'T a distress signal.
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